B-235927, Sep 6, 1989

B-235927: Sep 6, 1989

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CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Residence transaction expenses - Reimbursement - Eligibility - New residence construction CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Residence transaction expenses - Reimbursement - Eligibility - Lot sales CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Residence transaction expenses - Reimbursement - Eligibility - Time restrictions DIGEST: This summary letter decisions addresses well established rules which have been discussed in previous Comptroller General decisions. Martin: The issue is whether a transferred employee may be reimbursed for expenses in connection with the purchase of a residential building lot where the residence being built thereon was not completed within the 3 year time limit following his reporting for duty at his new duty station.

B-235927, Sep 6, 1989

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Residence transaction expenses - Reimbursement - Eligibility - New residence construction CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Residence transaction expenses - Reimbursement - Eligibility - Lot sales CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Residence transaction expenses - Reimbursement - Eligibility - Time restrictions DIGEST: This summary letter decisions addresses well established rules which have been discussed in previous Comptroller General decisions. To locate substantive decisions addressing this issue, refer to decisions indexed under the above listed index entry.

Dean L. Martin:

The issue is whether a transferred employee may be reimbursed for expenses in connection with the purchase of a residential building lot where the residence being built thereon was not completed within the 3 year time limit following his reporting for duty at his new duty station. The authorized certifying officer questions whether reimbursement of the closing costs of the lot may be allowed so long as the costs do not exceed the reimbursable costs of final settlement had it occurred within the allotted time limit.

Under the regulations governing relocation expenses, only the expenses of residence construction comparable to expenses in connection with the purchase of an existing residence are reimbursable. /1/ We have held that the acquisition of a lot and the building of a residence thereon is a single transaction for the purposes of real estate expense reimbursement and the controlling date for compliance with the time limitation is the date of settlement on the completed residence. 47 Comp.Gen. 792 (1968); B-168975, Apr. 17, 1970. See also Walter C. Caskey, B-185188, Dec. 30, 1975. The inability of an employee to comply with the time limit even in situations where construction completion was delayed by conditions over which he had no control precludes reimbursement of any expenses. Comp.Gen. 753 (1968).

In the present case settlement on the completed residence did not occur until 3-1/2 years after Mr. Martin reported for duty at his new station. Accordingly, the real estate expense claim may not be paid.

/1/ Federal Travel Regulations (FTR), Para. 2-6.2d(1)(j) (Supp. 4, Aug. 23, 1982), incorp. by ref., 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101-7.003 (1984).